2020 – What’s Ahead

The next decade came knocking with full force and for business events, the timing could not be better. We blinked, years flew by and significant growth occurred in our industry – from new technology solutions to a stronger focus on the attendee experience, improved sustainability practices and continued market consolidation, the industry continues to deliver unprecedented value to businesses.

Events, conferences, conventions, incentive travel and trade shows collectively effect significant change when meetings come to town and every aspect of the economy benefits. Face-to-face meetings continue to create jobs, generate commerce and provide real community impact. Many in our industry are very optimistic when looking ahead to 2020. While there will always be talk of economic uncertainty or the impact of political change, the meetings industry is strong and will remain so through the always certain global shifts. As we look ahead to what the year and next decade hold, we are assured the business events industry is a vibrant and growing place to be.

The industry’s single greatest success in the last decade has been an inflection point in the view from the broader business community as to the importance of business events to drive performance on an individual and personal basis. The business events industry is transforming, and our sector is working hard to further establish its place in the broader industry- moving in status from cost center to value creator.

Looking Ahead

We are placing bets on a growth year that may be unexpected. Why? Events are the most powerful media on the planet. As an industry we are coming into our own as a primary category. Lessons were learned in the last economic downturn. We know we need events to drive business forward and the data is beginning to back that statement up. Meetings and events have cemented their place as a critical driver of communications, growth, and engagement for organizations globally and this won’t change anytime soon.


We are seeing larger budgets and a very robust 2020 in our business, more so than at any time in our history at PRA. Our clients are looking for increasingly experiential events, which is a positive for PRA given our solution set. Overall budgets are building, but possibly not at the pace of prior years.

Incentives on the Rise

The 2019 Travel Industry Index show incentives on the rise. However, as travelers become savvier and more millennials qualify for incentives, there is a demand for more unique experiences that deliver meaningful promises around sustainability and social responsibility. This group will continue to mix business with leisure during a business event, striking a fine balance of local interest and information with independent exploration.

Market Consolidation

Consolidation in virtually every sector of the industry is underway, overdue, and executed with varying degrees of success. We are roughly 30% into a fully consolidated industry, so there is time and room to deliver stronger execution over time.

Impact of Technology

Planners are no strangers to technology. Almost daily we are exposed to a new app, new platform and better ways to reach an audience. Studies show that using event technology can improve overall attendance, increase engagement, decrease costs and draw attention to your program or convention. Still, planners struggle to determine what event technology is most important to adopt. Rapid innovations in technology tools are supporting greater engagement and data capture in events and this will continue to grow in 2020.

Event Safety

A meeting planner’s top priority are their attendees. In order to be successful, companies must be able to efficiently and effectively evaluate potential sensitivities across employees, clients, participants, vendors, and other key stakeholders to ensure that the organization is being responsive to concerns. Read here to review the important steps we take to ensure PRA is prepared for our clients when an emergency occurs.

Building a Better Planet

With the tremendous amount of waste that occurs at any event, sustainability is on everyone’s mind.  Having shifted from a buzzword and cemented itself as an integral component of event

planning, the industry demands clearly defined green initiatives and event planning companies need to provide it. Whether it is through décor, food, or transportation, there is opportunity at every level to ensure that your event is as green as it can be. PRA has dedicated resources and system-wide tools to help our partners and clients deliver business events that protect the planet.

The business events industry is on solid ground and continues to be one of the most influential industries in the world. We look forward to working with you in 2020 and beyond to continue to shape this exciting impact and growth. Ready to get started on your 2020 initiatives and programming? Reach out to one of our team members here.

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